McMahon’s Café Bar open for business. From left: Baiva Zvynyta, Starla Doyle, Caroline McMahon, proprietor of the McMahon’s Café Bar; Tara O’Neill Chambers and Laoise Cruise.

Opening time at last for pubs

Pubs and restaurants across the county are reopening their doors this week, courtesy of the new vaccine pass to facilitate indoor service.

Business owners and managers, spoken to by the Celt, said they had little or no problem checking customers’ Digital Covid Certificates (DCCs) to permit them indoors.

The certs, printed or displayed on smartphones, were checked in a matter of seconds; while the lead person in the party signed their name and contact details in the visitors’ book for contact tracing.

The Celt visited McMahon’s Café Bar in the heart of Cavan Town and the popular Bridge Tavern in Canningstown, both of which reopened for business on Monday.

The affable Caroline McMahon, proprietor of McMahons’ Café Bar, said there had been a broad cross section of people ready to experience life inside a bar once again. All the vaccinated customers enjoyed the experience of being in the bar again and those not yet vaccinated, were facilitated in the pub’s new outdoor area.

“The new outdoor facility suits the young people who are waiting to be vaccinated and they can enjoy their smoothies in comfort,” enthused Caroline.

She is not fazed at all by the requirement to check people’s vaccine passes.

“It is just a case of our customers getting used to the drill of the requirement. We make it as smooth as possible by putting them at ease and making sure they feel as comfortable as possible.

“We can’t wait to see everybody back and people have been giving us good reviews and saying they will support us,” said a delighted Caroline.

Noting the prolonged closure was “definitely tough”, Caroline reports it is great to be “back open again”.

She added: “We are responsible for our staff and the business. Every one of our staff returned, which is great.”

Banter in the Bridge

There was a vibrant atmosphere in the Bridge Tavern in Canningstown on Monday evening when the Celt called. Laughter spilled across the bar room as people of all ages joined in the banter, a sure sign of their delight to be back inside the country pub.

“We missed the craic,” declared a group of young locals waiting for their first pints in a bar in seven months.

The manager, Carmel McCabe, was in great form behind the bar and smiled as she recalled there were even a few customers waiting for the doors to open, aiming to nip in for a quick pint after a long day at work.

“It’s not all about how many drinks they enjoy, but the wee bit of craic and having those little chats and sharing a wee bit of news as well.

“Trade was really good here before we were locked down on the 23rd of December and we had only been open for 11 days,” she said.

Carmel assured there was no problem checking vaccine certs, as customers already had them in their hand before taking their seats.

“It is lovely to see our older customers coming back in for their few enjoyable drinks. It is a great community around here and we get a good crowd in here – the weekends are our busiest time,” she said.

“We used to run music every Saturday and Sunday evening here – whenever that will return, I don’t know. We ran the Hooley every year and, for the past two years, we had no Hooley,” added Carmel, looking forward to the day live entertainment can also resume.